Lending ISN Assistance to the U.S. Effort to Curb the Ebola Epidemic

In August 2014, the World Health Organization made an urgent appeal for help to stem the tide against an intensifying Ebola outbreak in western Africa. The Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation responded rapidly through its Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction by training healthcare, law enforcement, and other international response personnel to lend assistance in this effort. Further efforts procured secure transport vehicles and personal protective equipment for areas of greatest need.

ISN trained more than 2,000 police officers from Sierra Leone and more than 1,200 Liberian police officers, equaling nearly one-third of Liberia’s national police force. Officers were trained on the nature of Ebola transmission; use of protective equipment; and proper techniques to interact with sick or potentially infected individuals. This training allows police to safely and securely perform key security duties that enable larger humanitarian efforts. ISN also trained health care workers on secure and safe practices at frontline clinics and supported activities to enhance the security and safety of transport of hazardous materials and sick patients.

These training programs directly leverage ISN’s substantial biosecurity and biosafety expertise to combat infectious disease and improve biosecurity. ISN’s work on Ebola is a further example of the cross-cutting nature of biological risk management and global health security supported by the Bureau.

2015 NPT Review Conference

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime; it entered into force in 1970 and includes 190 states party. The treaty covers three mutually reinforcing pillars—disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The basic bargain at the core of the NPT is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear technology.

The NPT allows for the parties to gather every five years to review its operation. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the parties extended the Treaty indefinitely and formalized the practice of convening a Review Conference (RevCon) every five years. The 2015 NPT Review Conference will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from April 27-May 22. Ambassador Adam Scheinman, the President’s special representative for nuclear nonproliferation, is leading U.S. outreach to NPT states party ahead of the RevCon.

In preparation for the 2015 RevCon, the United States has exercised global leadership across all three pillars of the NPT. The United States is promoting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and has set important precedents for transparency in nuclear disarmament by releasing comprehensive data related to the size and history of its strategic nuclear stockpile.

The United States has made nonproliferation of nuclear weapons a national priority: we have enhanced the capacity of other countries to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery across their territories and borders; and we have introduced and implemented a series of international initiatives to strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The United States remains committed to the responsible expansion of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We have promoted and strengthened international mechanisms for ensuring the viability of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role in preventing the diversion of peaceful nuclear energy sources.

Supporting Syrian Chemical Weapons Elimination Date: 09/14/2013 Description: Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman in Geneva. - State Dept Image

The Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation has worked closely with other U.S. agencies and the international community to support the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria. The removal of the highest priority chemicals from Syria began Jan. 7, 2014. As of June 21, 2014, all declared chemical weapons agents, precursors, and materials, including production, mixing, and filling equipment, have been destroyed or removed from Syria. We congratulate the OPCW-UN Joint Mission and the entire international coalition for the level of coordination and effort involved with removing more than 1,000 tons of chemicals from Syria. We thank Joint Mission Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu, and their teams for their vital work under extremely dangerous and challenging circumstances. We also thank our allies and partners, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, and the United Kingdom, who played an essential role in removing these chemical weapons materials.

The highest priority materials were neutralized aboard a U.S. vessel, the M/V Cape Ray, in international waters. The OPCW reported on Aug. 29, 2014, that 100 percent of all chemicals had been safely neutralized via hydrolysis. You can see an in-depth video demonstration of how this hydrolysis procedure neutralized these chemicals, which are now being disposed of at a commercial facility.

To date, ISN Bureau financial assistance to Syrian chemical weapons elimination efforts totals nearly $6 million from the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund for financial and in-kind contributions to the UN and OPCW. This assistance includes a $2 million financial contribution to the OPCW trust fund to support the inspection and verification of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile and production equipment; as well as another $2 million contribution to the trust fund to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2118. In-kind assistance includes $1.55 million for 10 armored vehicles provided to the UN, and $300,000 for equipment to the OPCW, such as protective gear and medication to counteract exposure to chemical weapons, as well as training to aid OPCW work.

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